Interview: O Emperor

O Emperor release their first single, ‘Po’, last year to much acclaim. This was further heightened when they launched the Reverie EP earlier this year. It has heightened expectations for their upcoming full-length album, and has probably made it one of the most anticipated Irish albums of 2010. I was lucky enough to get the chance to talk to Paul Savage from the band. here’s what he had to say about that upcoming record, signing for a major label, and appearing on RTÉ’s Other Voices.

You’ve come a long way since releasing ‘Po’ last year, have you had time to catch your breath since?
Yeah, this year has has completely transformed our position as a band. Just last year we were only known locally in Waterford and maybe Cork. It has been relentless, the touring and recording the last few months, but its great to be out playing to new people and making it feel like a slight bit of a career. Also being away from the X Box for a few days is good for the soul.

I read last year that ‘Hither, Thither’ was due to be released in October 09, why the delay?
We had recorded the album ourselves in 2008 and wanted to release it early the next year but not just give it a local release, so we sent it off to various industry people to see could anyone help us give it a proper lease of life. We eventually found a management team, who then put us in touch with Universal. In the time it had taken to meet these people and get ready for a release we had a lot more new songs that everyone liked, so we decided to go in and record them. The vibe was so good in the studio that we decided to try re record some of the original songs to see if could get them any better. So long story short our debut album has taken three years to make, but we’re glad we did it because we feel its much better then what we would have put out a year ago.

What was it like signing to a major label?
It’s been good to have a platform to get the music out there. They’re all really supportive people that left us do our thing in the studio and trusted us to produce the album ourselves, so so far so good.

Did you find that supporting established acts like OCS or Mumford and Sons helped expand your fanbase?
It was certainly a great experince to play on such a big stage to massive crowds and we did notice when we went back to play our own show in Belfast, that a lot of people had seen us at Mumford and Sons, so its a big help when trying to crack an uncharted territory.

And have you learned anything from any of the acts you’ve supported?
Ask “what you’re smoking” before you take a pass.

Is Reverie an indication of what the full-length will sound like?
We recorded the album in a very live way in contrast to the EP, so there’s going to have a very natural feel to it but it will sound a good bit bigger with the arrangements.

And how did you find the feedback for Reverie?
It was ok, I think some people are a little confused as to what were about so I’m hoping when the album comes out with a full range of songs, people can understand us a little better.

You grew up together, it must be fun to work with your friends?
We rarely speak to each other any more, its just about business now and making a lot of money. *laughs*

And are there any in-jokes in your songs that the rest of us might not get?
There’s a very rude phase in one of the songs on the album that’s buried in the mix that if anyone can guess what it is, we’ll give them 10 bucks.

You played on Other Voices, was that like a rite of passage for an Irish band?
Yeah, it seems to be, I remember watching Villagers do the same thing the year before and really getting into them afterwards. It’s a great show that I always loved to watch , so to do it was deadly! Annie mac is pretty alright too.

What other Irish acts are you enjoying at the moment?
Villagers are certainly doing us proud at the moment, it’s so great to see. Ambience affair, Deaf Joe and Katie Kim are some brilliant acts too that are well worth checking out.

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Related posts:

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  3. Interview: Codes
  4. Interview: The Dutchess and the Duke
  5. Album Review: O Emperor – Reverie EP

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